Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “Voices of Authority”

Captain John Sheridan is involved with/fighting against two conspiracies–and in this episode things come to a head when a transmission is discovered that thoroughly links them! Let’s talk about “Voices of Authority” here–but leave the spoilers for the other thread.

12 thoughts on “Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “Voices of Authority””

    1. I hate this line. The wording irks me. I always felt, “You’re about to go where so many men have gone before,” would fit the joke much better.

      1. Only if you compare it to the original series version. The TNG version is ‘no-one before’ so it works perfectly

        1. It’s not the Trek reference that’s the problem. It’s the “she’s a slut” joke that doesn’t work.

          Everyone is too inclusive, bordering on absurd. Its impossible for her to have slept with “everyone.”

          And even if Ivanova wanted to be more inclusive and not define her specifically as straight when she doesn’t know for sure, she could have said “where so many have gone before.”

          1. I always took it as a general “everyone has sex” rather than a shot at Ms. Mustante specifically, specifically because of the over-inclusiveness of the word, “everybody.”

          2. I think that it is clearly a shot at Musante. Not to be *too* pompous about this, but it’s a scene I don’t care for at all: there’s a notorious double-standard that this exemplifies far too starkly for my liking. If the woman comes onto the man after one dinner, that means that she has to be a you-know-what who will sleep with anyone – and Ivanova doesn’t actually know the degree to which Musante came onto Sheridan, or vice versa.

            (Which is what “everyone” means – it’s hyperbole for humorous effect, in this case nasty humorous effect. Ivanova doesn’t mean it literally.)

  1. Listening to the podcast, it ocurred to me that the show is framed from what could be considered quite a “liberal point” of view, and that JMS (and at least one-third of our podcast triumvirate) also are obvious liberals. As am I, to all intents & purposes. And it left me wondering whether you can really enjoy or appreciate the show if you are (or self-identify as) a conservative?

    I’m sure people can, and do, but it’d be interesting to see what they think about B5 today, given it assigns to its baddies (and occasionally outright parodies) certain conservative tropes. The current part of the show we’re discussing dates from 1996, before Gingrich, Lewinsky, Ken Starr, Dubya, hanging chads, 9/11, Homeland Security, Camp Delta, the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, Abu Ghraib, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, the Tea Party, Affordable Care, and your new flaxen-“haired” dark lord.

    Personally as a non-Yank I find the whole conservative/liberal thing silly and a bit odd (doubtless you feel the same about the remnants of the British class system). I don’t think there is anything wrong with being conservative about some things, but it seems that in the past 20 years the benchmark for bring a conservative has marched steadily rightwards into some very dark areas. What would Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio (to pick two largely at random) think if they were to watch B5 s3?

    Jerry Doyle is quite conservative but remains proud of his work on the show. Of course it’s not like there’s much else on his filmography that stands out!

    1. Bruce Boxleitner is also a political conservative, I believe.

      I’ll spare you all a second go-round of my “Sheridan = the idealized image of George W. Bush” theory. But I don’t think there’d be anything too surprising about certain strains of conservatives relishing B5.

      Especially neoconservatives. B5 often seems to exalt the idea of displaying determined leadership and of choosing to take a stand as the most crucial requirements for success. This resembles the strain in neoconservative thinking that opponents attack as the Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics.

      JMS’s commentary on (FUTURE EPISODE TITLE REDACTED) is interesting in the extent to which he subscribes to this sort of view of politics, (Contrast David Simon, a more solidly left-wing maker of television.) Not that this is just JMS: a lot of this is baked into space opera as a genre.

      1. Sorry! I forgot that I was in the non-spoiler section. Can our hosts delete or move that? It’s not very spoilery, but it contains an episode title that we haven’t gotten to yet. Sorry for doing this again.

    2. I’m a conservative (in the Russell Kirk sense rather than neocon or libertarian) and I love the show. I am fully aware that JMS comes at things from a leftward perspective, but he generally shows enough respect for contrary positions that it doesn’t come across as preachy (contrast that with some of the more eye-rollingly anvillicious Star Trek TNG episodes). We’ve already seen this attitude in connection to religion: JMS is an atheist but treats believers with respect. Similarly, while the growing troubles on Earth (I’m trying very hard here to keep it spoiler-free, rather than pull the topic over to the spoiler section) seem to point to Clark loyalists being The Bad Guys, in the future we will see that a certain person whom I will not name here was a Clark loyalist and a very good person (with a speech about it that received a round of applause from half the other characters). Also, there is an episode somewhere in which Garibaldi explicitly describes himself as a right-winger. If it looks like the show generally tilts left, I’m okay with that. Unlike some people that one meets on the internet, I am tough enough to exist in the same space as people who don’t exactly agree with me about how to run a country.

      Further, I do not see the rise of totalitarianism on Earth as necessarily a right-wing phenomenon. Our hosts pulled the Trump card [snicker at my own cleverness], but let’s not forget which side of the isle is enforcing ideological conformity in education, in Hollywood, in business, and even in the military (more at the level of desk-bound officers, rather than at the level of troops who actually work for a living). I’ve commented before about the strong parallels that I see between Night Watch and our current progressivist thought police. In future episodes, when we get some of the Shadows’ ideology, you might see me commenting about certain people who argue that their opponents are resisting the “force of history”. And finally, what do we see when evidence of wrongdoing comes to light? “What’s that? The FBI is investigating Hillary Clinton? Well that’s just nonsense put forward by the vast right-wing conspiracy!”

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